Guest Post: Why I started Riding, by Mark U

05.30.2012 | 2:06 pm

Well, there was this cool bike under the Christmas tree about 50 or so years ago. The timeline is vague, the memory vivid. My brother woke me up at 5 am and together we roused “Santa Claus” and his wife for that early morning surprise.

OK, OK, I know you mean “why I started riding seriously in my present life”. I’ve always had a bike. I even rode my bike from Denver to home, about 250 miles through the mountains, on a whim after my first year of college. That was three days of wonderful pain. But that’s another story, I digress. My serious riding began 13 years ago.

At that time I was commuting by bike in the summer – when the weather was nice, which was about 11 miles one way. I thought I was in good shape. The bike was a 1978 Schwinn Super Le Tour 10-speed (that’s 5 x 2) with down tube shifters. What a sweet ride – I am the original owner. Yeah, another story for later, sorry.

My mom had mentioned one time that one of my childhood friends that I had lost touch with was doing a lot of cycling. OK, that’s cool. But when he, John, and I reconnected at my (ouch) 30th high school class reunion I realized that her statement was really an under statement. He was riding over 5000 miles a year, doing rides like the Tour of Colorado, the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic, and 24 hours of Moab. It was then that the seed of “serious” cycling was planted. It slowly began to grow into my psyche.

That reunion was a life changing event for me. Getting reacquainted with those “kids” again made me realize what an opportunity I had let slip by. John and I easily reestablished the friendship we had way back then, and the new relationship is based around cycling (although the recalling of all those old hijinks is right up there too, believe me).

Since we live about 1000 miles apart, we started emailing, and still do, several times a week. His cycling adventures became my research projects and it led me into a new world that seemed foreign and alluring at the same time. Our old friendship was rekindled with a new common interest and I was determined to keep it alive this time. Thirty years; what a regret! But I wasn’t going to dwell on that. I made a commitment to keep this cherished friendship going until one of us dies. Cycling is the “fuel”.

In the ensuing years, my metamorphosis into an accomplished cyclist (John was already there) has provided me with all those things that anyone who has been through that knows. I have raced and won (and crashed), ridden centuries, double centuries, joined a team, and wear my sunglasses outside of the helmet straps.

Those were all fun and improved my life. Well, except for the crashing.

The best part of this process, though, was reforging a friendship with a childhood buddy I never should have let go. (We were born two days apart. Our parents were close friends, too). Each of us has made the long drive one way or the other several times to do some epic rides together.

We have worked through some difficult times on our own home fronts, but now with the support of a true friend. We have gone on to do other fun things together as well. But cycling is still the glue holding it all together. When we can’t physically ride together, we share the stories of our rides. We are creating the memories that we’ll laugh over years from now when we’re pushing walkers.

That is why I started riding.



  1. Comment by briebecca | 05.30.2012 | 2:32 pm

    Better late than never on the rekindled friendship. Spending with a good friend while riding – it doesn’t get much better than that. Although I have to ask.. noticed the 2006 TPB jersey… did you two earn it? It was one TPB I’ll never forget!

  2. Comment by briebecca | 05.30.2012 | 2:33 pm

    shoot.. ‘Spending time with a good friend..’..

  3. Comment by Liz | 05.30.2012 | 3:15 pm

    So this is what I missed not going to my 30th reunion! Glad so much good came from yours. Best wishes to you both for many more years of riding together, even if virtually.

  4. Comment by chtrich | 05.30.2012 | 4:26 pm

    I recognized the jerseys as well. That was my first TBP. What a crazy one for sure!

  5. Comment by Mark | 05.31.2012 | 8:38 am

    We definitely “earned” the jerseys, but we didn’t complete the ride. Can you say hypothermia? As you can see we made the 2007 ride – beautiful!

  6. Comment by Susan | 05.31.2012 | 12:43 pm

    Awesome post. I ride with a close friend and we work out all sorts of issues on Saturday mornings. For me, it’s at LEAST as much about the fellowship as it is the ride. The combination of cycling and a good friend just can’t be beat.


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